In the eighth chapter of Street Magic, Evvy trains with Briar, and then NOOOOOOOOO. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Circle Opens.
I’m just happy that Evvy is quickly joining the CIRCLE OF FRIENDSHIP. I love it. I LOVE SO MUCH THAT EVVY IS ABLE TO FIND COMFORT AND AMUSEMENT AND SAFETY IN THESE TWO PEOPLE. It’s so amazing to me to see how much her behavior has changed just since the beginning of the book, and that’s largely because Briar treated her like a human. Which, I know, that is how ALL PEOPLE SHOULD BE TREATED FROM THE START. But Evvy’s not had access to any of this for years, you know? This isn’t something she’s used to.
But she understands why she’s being asked to do certain things. She doesn’t fight Briar or Rosethorn. She gets the importance of the meditation even though it’s difficult for her to pull off. I didn’t find this unrealistic because I thought it was a neat turn for her story. She was eager to have this sort of structure in her life, and she’s clearly blossoming beneath it. At the same time, there’s no repetition of the training styles between this book and Magic Steps, and I appreciate that also. Evvy is nothing like Pasco, and Briar’s style is nothing like Sandry’s. While both characters struggled with determining how to teach their students, Briar definitely seems to be struggling far more than Sandry did.
I can see why that is, though. Briar is inherently a more selfish character than Sandry is. He’s prideful, too, as we can see when Evvy insults his barrier mix’s scent. It’s also not as easy for him to focus, either, so we see him make a number of amateur mistakes because he doesn’t think things through the first time. Which is okay! Not just that, but I don’t need him to be a perfect teacher. I appreciate that this is a learning experience for him as much as it has been for Evvy. He has to learn Evvy’s limits alongside his own, you know?
Surprisingly, one of those limits is EVVY TURNING HERSELF INTO A STONE, WHAT THE HELL. This girl’s power is unreal, y’all. She’s got so much of it, and she can so easily focus is it one thing, which includes herself. Her concentration is easily achieved, something that she needs to be taught to control. I mean, look at how much she’s done already, y’all! She can channel her magic in such specific ways without much instruction at all.
I’m really interested to see how she develops. I am not, however, thrilled to see how Lady Zenadia does ANYTHING AT ALL because SHE TERRIFIES ME. More than anything else, what she does makes me sad. It’s not that we need to look upon Orlana without a critical eye; people suddenly aren’t exempt from criticism or accountability because of how they’re treated by others. But Zenadia’s manipulation of these children is now regularly resulting in their deaths. Zenadia is so obsessed with her own perception of disrespect and loyalty that she denies the very existence of allergies. Granted, I hadn’t thought they existed in Emelan, but still. Somehow, in Zenadia’s view of the world, it’s disrespectful for Orlana toâ€¦ not resist the physical affects of her allergies? The more I think about it, the more absurd this expectation is.
But that’s the whole point. Zenadia doesn’t subscribe to any sort of goodness, even when it comes to something as simple as the benefit of the doubt. She assumes the worst of people, even in situations where the worst is still not that bad at all. Here, she writes off Orlana’s injuries as the result of “drug intoxication,” a prevalent claim from those of the higher class. I long ago lost count of how many times I’ve been accused of being high, selling drugs, or ruining my life because of them. My homelessness was apparently always due to this, despite that aside from alcohol, I HAVE NEVER DONE ANYTHING CLOSE TO A DRUG. (One day I’ll write about how my appearance means that in times when I’ve needed them? I don’t get them. Ever. Thanks, all doctors and therapists I’ve ever seen.)
She justifies her killing of Orlana because it was necessary. Orlana was holding them back as a group, so she had to go. It’s such a frightening dichotomy of the world, y’all. And it’s also clear to me that her tender treatment of Ikrum at the end of this chapter is just another chance for her to manipulate someone to do what she wants. There’s no other explanation of it. She continues to use children to play out drama on the streets of Chammur, all for her amusement. I really, really want her gone, but I worry that this will mean that the children who are part of the Vipers will be lost, too. When will Briar figure out what’s going on? Soon, I hope, before Zenadia has more kids killed.
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